They came, they lobbied and were lobbied, and, finally, they legislated.
But, did they accomplish anything? Yes, actually. Utah County's 16-member legislative delegation worked on bills dealing with everything from creating a new lake to prohibiting the use of public facilities for election-related activities.Following is a look at some of the bills and issues that the county's elected representatives and senators spent their time and efforts on during the 1989 session.Christine R. Fox, R-District 57:
- Sponsored a bill that requires anyone requesting vehicle registration information to show personal identification. The bill passed.
- Sponsored a bill that implements federal law regarding commercial driver licenses. The bill passed.
Don R. LeBaron, R-District 58:
- Worked on a bill authorizing a study to determine the feasibility of creating a fresh water lake on the east shores of the Great Salt Lake, with the stipulation that if the project is found to be feasible, the Legislature will fund it. The proposed recreational lake, already referred to as Lake Wasatch, would have a surface area two times larger than Lake Powell. The bill passed, but no funds were appropriated, which will delay its start for at least a year. LeBaron estimates the study will be completed in two years.
- Worked on a bill increasing funding for creation of off-highway vehicle trails. The bill allows for $400,000 from the Motor Fuel Tax Fund to be used annually to create trails for snowmobiling in the winter and OHV use in the summer. The bill passed.
John L. Valentine, R-District 59:
- Sponsored a bill clarifying the courts' jurisdiction in probate matters in cases more than three years old. The bill, which passed, provides a uniform method of treatment for such matters in all district courts.
- Co-sponsored a bill that passed the House, but failed in the Senate that would have provided a donation check-off for education on state income tax forms. The bill would have allowed taxpayers to donate a portion of their tax refunds to education for textbooks and supplies or general education purposes.
Pat Nix, R-District 60:
- Sponsored a bill providing a tax checkoff on state income tax forms for private donations to education. Taxpayers would have specified whether they wanted the donation to be spent on textbooks or put into general use by an educational foundation of their choice. The bill failed, but Nix said she would refile the bill in a future session.
- Sponsored several "equity" bills. One bill would have redefined retirement income to allow individuals 65 or older who continue to work because of financial necessity to include the first $6,000 of that income as a retirement benefit for tax purposes. Another bill would have allowed both a retired worker and his or her spouse who never worked to be eligible for a retirement benefit deduction ($6,000 of retirement income would be deducted for tax purposes for each person). Nix said the current situation "punishes the family with only one worker." Both bills failed to advance in the House.
R. Lee Ellertson, R-District 61:
- Sponsored a bill that gives the environmental division of the Utah Department of Health authority and funding ($1.28 million) to exert pressure on responsible parties to clean up hazardous waste. If the party fails to clean up the waste, the environmental division can do the cleanup and charge them for the work. The bill also provides $1.6 million that may match federal funds to clean up waste at the Sharon Steel site in Midvale. And, it provides $120,000 in state matching funds for work on leaking underground storage tanks. The bill passed.
- Sponsored a bill clarifying juror and witness fees and the role of counties and the state in Utah's juror system; the bill passed.
Jeril B. Wilson, R-District 62:
- Sponsored a bill that would have required all fees charged by agencies and institutions to be approved by the Legislature. Revenue from such fees would have come into the general fund and then been reappropriated to agencies and institutions. The bill would have prevented expenditure of revenue in areas not intended by the Legislature, and would have brought equalization to agency budgets, Wilson said. The bill died in the Senate.
- Sponsored a bill that would have prohibited use of public facilities and property for election campaign purposes. The bill included sanctions for violation of the law such as loss of job, liability for repayment of cost of time and materials used, and criminal penalties. The bill failed but "it will be back," Wilson said. The strong sanctions will be watered down, however.
Janette C. Hales, R-District 63:
- Sponsored a bill that provides for continuation of the emissions testing program in four counties, including Utah County. The bill passed.
- Sponsored a bill that made anabolic steroids a controlled substance. The bill passed.
- Opposed a bill that would have allowed optometrists to perform minor eye surgeries and to prescribe therapeutic drugs. The billed failed.
Byron L. Harward, R-District 64:
- Sponsored an administrative rules bill that allows the Legislature to review annually and approve all rules written by executive branch agencies to ensure they are in step with legislative intent. Rules not approved will be allowed to expire.The bill passed. The most important effect of the bill is that it will inspire representatives of departments to make sure their actions correspond with the desires of the Legislature, Harward said.
- Sponsored bill adding an additional fee of $150 to all drug abuse crime fines; the bill passed. The revenue generated will be used to fund supervision of a community service program and to provide anti-drug curriculum training for teachers.
Don R. Strong, R-District 65:
- Co-sponsored bill tying government growth to population growth and inflation. The bill passed.
- Worked heavily on a bill that would have reduced the sales tax by one-quarter of a cent. The bill failed. "I happened to be here (in the Legislature) when the tax was imposed to deal with the flooding disasters,"
Strong said. "At the time the people felt we needed the help. Now that the crisis has passed, I wanted to cut back the amount of tax and say to the people `Thank you very much.' "
- Co-sponsored a bill providing funding of about $2 million a year for Utah's bid for the 1998 or 2002 Winter Olympics. "I think it would be beneficial for the state and give us a good image of ourselves," Strong said. The bill passed.
Tim Moran, D-District 66:
- Sponsored a bill that allows applicants for a surface coal mining and reclamation permit to file applications with county clerks rather than county recorders. The bill passed.
- Sponsored a successful bill that allows certain public utility associations to file information with county clerks rather than county recorders.
Bill Wright, R-District 67:
- Co-sponsored a bill that would have reduced the sales tax by one-quarter of a cent. "I felt we had the money, that we had adequately funded meaty programs, and were in a position to take that reduction," Wright said. "It (a sales tax reduction) has an advantage over other reductions because it takes a little bit and gives it to everyone. It covers a broad base." The bill failed.
- Co-sponsored a successful bill adding two new members to the State Fair Board.
Karl G. Swan, D-District 13:
- Sponsored a bill providing competitive relief for private energy producers. The bill allows the Public Service Commission to takes bids from private energy producers, and based on those bids, determine who can sell excess energy to larger energy companies. The bill passed.
- Opposed a bill that provides financial incentives to higher education institutions and school districts to move students out of high school after the 11th grade. The bill passed. It provides distribution of the weighted pupil unit that would have been spent on a student to be divided between three entities: school districts receive $310 for each student that leaves after 11th grade; a scholarship grant of $310 will be given to students who move into higher education institutions, and the state will retain the remaining $620. "I opposed it because it could cause districts to compete to move kids when it isn't in their (the kids) best interest," Swan said.
Craig A. Peterson, R-District 14:
- Co-sponsored a successful bill that requires building contractors to demonstrate financial responsibility prior to obtaining a license, establishes criminal penalties for diverting or misusing funds received for construction projects, establishes heavy sanctions for contractors caught working without a license and allows contractors with a state license and business license in the city in which they live to operate in other cities or counties without having to purchase additional business licenses.
- Sponsored a bill that establishes statewide uniform building standards and provides for training of local inspectors to enforce code compliance, removing that oversight responsibility from the state level. The bill passed.
LeRay McAllister, R-District 15:
- Sponsored a successful bill that amends the administrative rules process to require legislative approval of rules issued by executive branch. - Sponsored a bill that would have modified tort liability for manufacturers so they could not have been sued for products that caused injury if the products were produced using state of the art technology at the time of manufacture. A similar bill sponsored by McAllister would have required insurance companies to file rate reports with the insurance commissioner, and was aimed at reducing outrageous insurance costs for groups such as the Boy Scouts and for businesses such as nursing homes. Both bills failed, but will be refiled in the next session.
C.E. "Chuck" Peterson, R-District 16:
- Sponsored a successful bill requiring financial transactions between financial institutions and individuals to be in writing in order to be binding.
- Worked on a bill controlling sale of chemical components used in production of illegal drugs. The bill passed.
- Sponsored a bill that would have required non-residents living in the state more than 90 days to have their vehicles emission tested if required in the county in which they are residing. Peterson said the bill failed because senators in outlying areas opposed it. He said the bill would be refiled in a future session.
Eldon A. Money, D-District 17:
- Sponsored a bill reducing the sales tax by one-quarter of one cent. The bill failed.
- Sponsored a bill that provides a tax credit to parents who care for handicapped children at home. The bill doubles the deduction that can be taken on state income tax forms for such children. "Most people could place the kids in the American Fork Training School, where it costs $40,000 a year to care for them," Money said. He said this was the only tax related bill that was passed in this year's legislative session. The bill passed.